How it all started
The idea of a Community Hub grew from Stratford Samaritans search for a new home, somewhere that would give them the space to develop their services to meet the growing demand for emotional support. Finding the right place at the right price close to the town centre seemed impossible and they realised that other organisations were facing the same issue. A meeting with Stratford Town Trust suggested a solution, the development of a building that could be used by several charities and community groups, including Samaritans. It would need to combine offices with rooms for counselling and group work as well as a large flexible area for practical activities and training.
Tyler House in Tyler Street offered the perfect size and location. Owned by The William Tyler Charity and managed by the Municipal Charities of Stratford upon-Avon, it has seen many uses over the past 50 years, from youth groups to boxing clubs, all for the community. It needed refurbishment and significant alterations to make it suitable for Samaritans and similar Hub Partners, including disabled access to both floors. Happily this was at the same time as the launch of Stratford Town Trust’s Community Challenge which invited bids for innovative projects that would transform the lives of local people. The bid “Stratford Samaritans Community Hub – Supporting the Town Together” got through the initial round in February and into the next round in October 2013.
At both stages of the bid, the Samaritans team talked to a large number of existing and potential users of Tyler House to make sure that the Hub would meet the needs of as many groups as possible. They would like to thank all the volunteers, service users and staff who took part in this process, especially the organisations who were using the building at the time.
The final bid included funding for the building work, the Hub’s start-up and the salary of a part-time Hub Manager. Samaritans was absolutely delighted when the bid was announced as one of the three winners the Pride of Stratford Awards in February 2014.
Local architects Corstorphine + Wright kindly offered to design and manage the project pro-bono. They had hoped to start the build immediately but various delays meant that work didn’t get underway until September 2015. Despite the unexpected challenges of any refurbishment project, at the end of January 2016 the building was ready for its for its first users. The Samaritans moved in during the second week of February and their first shift was on Monday 15th.
It may have taken a little longer than they hoped, but Tyler House has exceeded the expectations of the dedicated team of Samaritan volunteers who had the energy and vision to take on this significant community project. It is now ready to support the local charities and community groups that work with the most vulnerable groups in our community.
Find out what is on at the Hub this month on our Events diary and look at the rooms we have available on our Book Space page. For any other enquiries contact our Hub Manager on 01789 332545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.